The Strip has everything a city whose nickname is “Sin” might be expected to offer, right? Well, not quite: the Strip ain’t got no strippin’! Industrial Road, does, though, which is where a former athletic club has been turned into Sapphire, the “world’s largest gentlemen’s club.” Last Saturday night, six Living Las Vegas scribes enjoyed an evening at Sapphire. We all sat at the same table, but our impressions were far from identical.
Until two days ago, my impressions of gentlemen’s clubs had been formed solely by the televisions versions. Strip clubs, I thought, were seedy-looking, dimly-lit, smoke-filled rooms, where a few old men ogled tired, blank-eyed women dancing on a stark stage, while a cigar-chomping bartender dressed in a dirty T-shirt served cheap beer in between interrogations by pairs of jaded police detectives.
The reality, as presented by Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club, is quite different. The limo dropped us at the door opened by a well-groomed man in a suit. We traveled through a hallway filled with fairly tasteful artistic interpretations of the female form, before being led to our VIP table right in the center of the action. The hordes of beautiful women then descended, offering as much attention to the females of the party as to the males. Displaying no signs of a hardened lifestyle, they were personable, friendly, and even chatty, quite willing to talk about their lives. My overall impression was a bevy of ladies who enjoyed their work.
Although I am not known for my own sartorial flare, I personally found the variety of bikinis displayed by the women fascinating, ranging from pure white to simple, brightly-colored string styles to black and silver chain styles. My personal favorite was the flirty pink and white striped and polka dotted number, with a strip of ruffles. The girlish style fit the fresh and open face of the tall blond wearing it. But despite my attention to the fashions, I confess, however, I have no recollection of the style worn by the woman who gave my husband a lap dance. I don’t even recall what she looked like, although I am sure she was quite lovely. I am not entirely sure how I felt about that scene, but I know my husband, quite spontaneously, made breakfast for me this morning. That kind of gives me a clue of how he felt about it.
Sapphire. Not your father’s strip club.
I had my first lap dance last night. But that wasn’t my first time to a strip club. It was the first time my wife ever took me to such a venue, but that’s another story. One time I went to a club in St. Paul, Minnesota, which was basically a bar with a few glass-walled cubicles along one wall. Behind the glass walls the girls danced as nude as they could get. If you slipped a little money through a slot in the glass, one of them would perform something special for you. Seamy? You betcha! No so with Sapphire, where my dancer delivered a performance with a personal touch. I haven’t gotten that sort of attention out of a young woman since about 1949. The décor was a lot nicer, too. And, if you’ve ever wondered what happened to all those eighties hair band videos you used to rock out to, you’ll be happy to know you can still catch them at Sapphire. Especially for out of town friends (there were a surprising number of women customers,) you might want to treat them to an exotic evening at the “World’s Largest Gentleman’s Club.”
The best view in the house. That’s how I would characterize my visit to Sapphire Gentleman’s club on Saturday evening. Two fellow scribes assumed the unintended role as being the gate keepers of the row of tables I was sitting at and so I was free to gaze at all of the beautiful women as they worked the room. Of course, countless women leaned past both Eric and Steve enticing me to invite them to party with them, but the distance of two tables made the usual sit-on-your-knee-while-I-encourage-you-to-engage-in-a lap-dance-with-me-negotiation much more problematic for the performers. The club management provided us with a centrally located booth with clear sightlines to two of the stages and both bars. Our cocktail server was attentive and charming and it was a delightful evening. There is reality-escaping milieu of such establishments where going-with-the-flow elicits a kind of sweetness, totally out of character with the hard driving musical soundtrack blasting from the speakers. The only unsettling part of the evening was when an over-enthused performer attempted to corral my attention as I was returning to my seat after a trip to the restroom. I thoroughly appreciated what a duck must feel like at border collie dog trials… For the most part, however, I found the attentions of the performers very entertaining and I look forward to my next visit to the Sapphire.
Sapphire bills itself as the worlds largest gentleman’s club – I’ll trust their claim since I’ve only been to one other one, and it was smaller. It does seem believable when you look across the giant sea of bikini and negligee-clad women. They stroll through the sensuous blue neon of the club with great ease and bright smiles, eagerly sitting provocatively in men’s laps and, at least in my case, asking my husband if he wanted to buy his wife a lap dance.
If you decide to go to Sapphire (or any other strip club, for that matter) in a couples group as we did, it’s a good idea to bring some cash, not just for the drinks but to take advantage of some of the services offered. I mean, why not, right? I think I understand where that “when in Rome” saying came from much better now. The girls didn’t seem to mind at all that the wallets in our group were attached to their wives. In fact, they flocked to us. Although I declined many generous offers for a lap dance, I was very pleased to get an excellent shoulder and back massage from a very friendly (and yes, beautiful) girl from Warsaw, Poland — with my husband watching.
The other two women from our group and I checked out the part of the club where the guys strip. It was very different from the main floor with the women. The guys perform up on stage and do choreographed dances in various costumes and then go around seeking tips. It’s much more of a show atmosphere than a seduction.
All in all, I really enjoyed spending an evening at Sapphire Gentleman’s Club with my husband. We had never done anything like that before together and I can see us suggesting it to couples friends in the future who want to experience a bit of the wild side of Vegas in a safe and friendly manner.
Eric James Miller
The night I spent at Sapphire Gentleman’s Club in Las Vegas with my wife and two other couples was a memorable Saturday night.
It was the first strip club I’d been to since getting married three years ago. I’m glad that it’s a topless-only club because in Nevada that means they can serve liquor. It wasn’t nearly as weird being in a strip club with my wife as I thought it would be, especially after a few drinks.
The dancing girls, or exotic entertainers as some of them like to be called, flocked over to us. Couples in a strip club together aren’t as rare as you might think. We talked and laughed with many of the girls as if it was a perfectly regular night out on the town. You know, the regular kind of night where you keep one eye on the championship college basketball game playing on a giant plasma TV screen, and the other on the beautiful half-naked woman giving your wife a massage. Then at the commercial break, you let the beautiful half-naked woman sitting on your lap and playing with your hair give you a lap dance. Maybe Sapphire’s logo should be ‘Extraordinary Ordinary in Vegas’ to appeal more to locals.
With hundreds of beautiful and very friendly girls from all over the world to choose from, from leggy blondes to petite brunettes to busty Asians, all dressed in a dazzling variety of skimpy outfits, I see why it’s been voted the Best Gentleman’s Club in Vegas several times over the years. Half body massages and lap dances are a bargain at only $20. When we got there around 9:30 there were about a hundred girls sauntering between the tables. When we left at about midnight there were probably more than two hundred. I’m not kidding when I say that I barely saw the same girl twice.
Whoever is in charge of creating the fantasy world that inhabits the inside of Sapphire has done an excellent job of filling the space up with a top-drawer male fantasyland. This is Disneyland for big boys: naked ladies in a seductive rainbow of styles and shapes, all smilingly and instantly available for interactive entertainment. No time-consuming, ego-bruising flirting required — your credit card is the only thing that has to fear rejection.
Ensconced in a cushy booth on the edge of the main floor, I sipped vodka and cranberry juice served by a beautiful and attentive cocktail waitress. Since I’m a voyeur by nature rather than an exhibitionist, I melted happily into the background and watched the show swirling around me. A tall woman in a thong and Lucite stiletto heels tossed her mane of blonde hair as she “pole danced” on a raised stage in the center of the room. Behind her, a giant monitor broadcasted a college basketball game interspersed with ads touting the deluxe features of the club’s “sky boxes.” Music throbbed—loud enough to offer a nightclub pulse, but just soft enough to allow “sweet nothing” conversations at the tables and booths around me.
How many lap dances I observed, I can’t possibly estimate with accuracy. The effect was an unending blur of honeydew breasts and shapely buttocks, all bumping and grinding in the faces and laps of a wide variety of “gentlemen,” from T-shirt clad construction workers and guys in turbans to Rolex-wearing businessmen. The ladies will “dance” for female patrons, too, of course, but from my vantage point, I didn’t see that happening much.
I left my cozy spot on the sofa long enough to check out the showroom where male dancers in rip-away jeans were flexing their awesome pecs on a stage. Clearly geared toward serving the “bachelorette party” crowd, the “male revue” was an entertaining Chippendales-style show, but I found myself eager to return to the energy of the main room.
After I reemerged into real life, I kept thinking about the well-crafted alternate universe inside the big box on Industrial Road. Just as Disneyland’s Autopia lets little boys live out their dream of driving, Sapphire offers a playground where big boy fantasies come true. I used to think that passive female voyeurs are never welcome in such venues. Happily, I was wrong. It might not be my wildest fantasy to observe men getting full-court presses from ladies in strings, but I did have a good time watching.